Sherlock Holmes said, “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever is left, however improbable, is the truth."
That’s where the Nuker Group found themselves. The evidence was overwhelming. The exact relationship between the black hole’s mass and its galaxy’s mass—the relationship between the speed of the stars in the galaxy’s outer reaches and those in the center core—this could not be ignored.
The only explanation was that the black hole created the stars and the galaxy. How? Here is the Group’s postulated theory.
In the very early universe, before there were stars and galaxies, the hydrogen gas that permeated space formed into massive clumps. The gas tended to concentrate toward the center, and begin to spin. After several million years, the center of the gas cloud became extremely massive. At some point it became so massive it collapsed into a black hole. The gas surrounding the black hole, as it was sucked into oblivion, began spinning ever faster. As it spun, friction heated it up to several million degrees. It began to form stars, and the formation of a galaxy had begun.
More recent findings indicate rather than the hydrogen gas, it may have been dark matter that collapsed to form the huge black holes that formed the galaxies. Either way, the result is the same.
Even the gas at the outer edge of the cloud was set in motion by the spinning of the central core. As the black hole sucked in more gas, it became more massive and more powerful. It pulled the embryonic stars into its craw. At some point, it became so massive and so powerful the stars and gas spinning around it at the accretion disk generated huge amounts of radiation and energy. The forming galaxy had become an AGN—a Quasar.
As we noted, the active stage continues for millions of years, but eventually the black hole eats all the nearby stars and quiets down, perhaps for billions of years. But eventually it will sweep more stars into its lair, and begin to produce energy again as a quasar.
Remember the group studying Andromeda (M31) as an inactive galaxy? In 2006, Chandra detected that M31 had flared to 100 times its previous brightness. It has since calmed down—to 10 times its previous activity. Is our neighbor about to go to the AGN stage again?